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Kinvara – 1862

Photo: TO’D

THE IRISH TIMES, Friday, June 13th, 1862 p.3
Pursuant to previous notice from the Rev. Mr. Arthur, P.P., a meeting was held in the Court house, Kinvara, on the 8th inst., for the purposes of devising some means whereby the labouring poor of the town and its suburbs could be supported for the next month or two, until Providence gave them by a bountiful harvest the means of warding off the present distressing destitute condition of the poor people.
At three o’clock, on the motion of Mr. Martin Linnane, seconded by Mr. Kering,


The Rev. F. Arthur, P.P. was called to the chair. It was then resolved on the motion of Mr. Thomas Fahy, seconded by Mr. Frank Kilkelly, that Dr. Hynes, whose exertions were ever found available in the cause of the poor, should be requested to act as treasurer to our relief fund, and that the Rev. C. O’Carroll, be requested to act as secretary.


The rev. Chairman having observed in the first instance that having passed through the ordeal consequent on the famines of 1947, ’48 and ’49 in this parish, he had hoped that such things as then occurred would never occur again, the rev. gentleman in continuation said – But when I saw on looking around me, even in this potato growing district, that my poor parishioners were many of them on the verge of starvation – and when I remembered how great was their repugnance to seek that relief they so much required at the hands of the Poor Law Guardians – feeling also, that owing to the badness of the times how very ill able the shopkeepers and traders of Kinvara, generous though I know them to be, would be to support the destitution around them, I applied in the first instance to a member of the Mansion House Committee, explaining to him the peculiar circumstances of our cast; and although the committee very kindly then sent us some relief, I was given to understand that unless we established a committee no further funds could be had from that source. Feeling, then, as I thing every man in Ireland ought to feel, that, when every other resource failed, the Government were bound to come to the rescue, and to save the lives of the poor, I addressed a letter to Sir Robert Peel detailing, as well as I could, for it required neither eloquence nor oratorical power to do so, the destitute condition of the labouring poor of my district, and telling him, at the same time, that we wanted no charity – nothing but a loan, as I may say, to get us over the present crisis – a loan which, I felt satisfied, the ratepayers of the district would willingly repay if required to do so, as I wanted no advance except for works which would be beneficial to the barony and the public at large, and I particularly instances the parapet wall along the shore opposite Dr. Hynes’s lawn, as the most useful that could be effected, under the circumstances. You all know, gentlemen, that a man’s life is not safe driving along that road, without almost any protection on the sea side, having a parapet in many places not a foot high, and over which, if a stranger fell, he would precipitated into the deep ever so many feet. Well, to this I drew the Chief Secretary’s attention; and what does he do? He sends an inspector to inquire into the truth of my allegations. That gentleman accordingly came here, but how did he institute his inquiry? Within folded doors, allowing no more than one at a time to appear before him. Even Dr. Hynes, whom he wished to see, and who gave up a pressing engagement in the hope of being enabled to assist me in the inquiry, he told (when he called on him) that he would not want him until evening; but in the evening Dr. Hynes could not attend, and Mr. Bourke (the inspector) returned from the inquiry at Kinvara fully impressed, I am sure, with the applicability in his case to the old proverb of – “veni, vidi, vici” – I came, I saw, I conquered. What you may or have to expect from hiss visit among you, you will hear from Dr. Hynes and as it is noting to give us hope, I have ventured to call you together today in order that you may among yourselves devise some means whereby the poor of our district may be saved for the next two months.

Dr. Hynes then rose to propose the first resolution (which will be found in our advertising columns), and in doing so said – Before I enter on the purport of the resolution entrusted to me, I feel pleasure in being enabled to inform you that I received a very kind and courteous note from our worthy rector, the Rev. James, F. Moran, of Kilcolgan, in which he feelingly speaks of and sympathizes with our present destitute condition in Kinvara. He adds, that he would most willingly have taken a part in our proceedings here today if circumstances, over which he had no control, did not prevent him doing so; but as the sinews of war prove the mainsprings in matters of this kind, he send me what I consider a very handsome subscription from him, on whom there falls so many demands of this nature. I say, therefore, that we should all feel obliged to the Rev. Mr Moran. (Hear, hear.) And now, adverting again to the resolution entrusted to me by our worthy chairman, I do not know whether his recollection of the years 1847, ’48, and ’49, and the part I then took in alleviating the distress of my poorer fellow-townsmen of not which made my respected parish priest so anxious that I should be the mover of this resolution. But, my friends, whatever be his motives, I have felt it my duty to respond to his call. (Hear.) It is melancholy that, in a year like this, when plenty of food can be found in almost every market in the country, our poor should nevertheless be on the point of starvation. What is the cause? Chiefly want of employment. Henceforth, well, then, be it out business – be it our duty to provide employment for the next two months for all such as may require it. (Hear, hear.) I am very sorry that I had not the opportunity of meeting Mr. Bourke here on Friday last, and as I had not, I wrote to him my views of the present destitution, and the means whereby it might be relieved. To that letter, I received a kind and courteous reply, but there was one sentence in it which blasts all our hopes of Governmental aid. He says – “I do not anticipate that any steps whatever will be taken by the Government in consequence of my report”. What, then, are we to do? Let us adopt the good old motto – “Those that help themselves God will help,” and let us this day, and in this Courthouse, enter into a subscription that will enable our poorer townsmen to tide over the present crisis. It may be said that there are too many to be relieved, and that our resources are limited. Granted. But let us divide the responsibility with the poor law authorities. The poor law, even as it stands, empowers the guardians to give outdoor relief to widows, orphans, &c, &c, but denies that relief to the able-bodied labourer, &c. Let it therefore be our province to provide for the latter class, and let the Poor Law Guardians look to the class of persons I have specified. But in order to avoid abuse, we ill give no relief to any person will not give us some work in return for what we give him; in other words, we will provide works of public utility in and about the town, for such as are in the habit of supporting their families by daily labour; to such persons we will give 1s per day, but we will not undertake to maintain those that are entitled to out-door relief from the guardians, and who could not, of course, work for us. I hope the guardians will take care of them – we will take care of the other class, and now, having explained the principle on which we propose to act, I beg leave to propose the following resolution which, being seconded by Mr. Henry Flanagan, passed reni cor.
Mr Peter Linnane then proposed, and Mr. Daniel O’Dea seconded, that a subscription list be opened, and that the secretary be requested to solicit subscriptions from the humane and charitable throughout the country, and a vote of thanks having been passed to the Rev. Mr. Arthur, the meeting separated.